How to Build a Wooden Swinging Gate for a Deck

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Deck safety is an issue not to be taken lightly. Whether you have pets or small children, installing a swinging deck gate provides peace of mind. A deck gate permits access to the deck, while allowing you to control that access. This is especially critical if you have small children and a raised deck with stairs. As a bonus, a swinging deck gate adds an attractive, finished look to any deck.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 2-by-4 lumber
  • Circular saw
  • Safety goggles
  • Hearing protection
  • Wood glue
  • 3-inch wood screws
  • Drill
  • 1-by-1 wood boards
  • 2-inch wood screws
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Wood stain or paint to match deck railing
  • Paintbrushes
  • 2 gate hinges
  • Gate latch
  • Measure between the posts at the entry point to your deck with a measuring tape. Subtract 2 inches from that measurement, this will be the width of the gate. Cut two 2-by-4-inch boards to the measurement with a circular saw for the top and bottom of the gate.

  • Measure the opening for the gate from the top right corner to the bottom left corner. Subtract 2 inches from this measurement. Cut a piece of 2-by-4-inch lumber according to this measurement. This is the cross brace for the gate.

  • Place the top and bottom pieces flat on a level working surface. Arrange them so they are horizontal to you and parallel to each other. Measure the height of the deck railing and subtract 10 inches. Separate the top and bottom pieces according to the height measurement.

  • Place the cross brace across the top and bottom boards to reach it from the right side of the top board to the left side of the bottom board. Apply wood glue where the wood surfaces meet then screw the boards together using two 3-inch wood screws on each end of the cross brace.

  • Measure the distance from the top of the top piece to the bottom of the bottom piece. Cut several 1-by-1-inch wooden boards according to that measurement.

  • Flip the gate structure over. Place a 1-by-1 board across the structure so one end is on the top board and the other is on the bottom board. Slide it all the way to the ends of the boards. Attach the 1-by-1 board with a 2-inch wood screw at each end. Repeat to install 1-inch boards across the gate at 2-inch intervals.

  • Sand the entire gate with 120-grit sandpaper. Use a paintbrush to apply an even coat of wood paint or stain to match the deck railing. Let the paint or stain dry completely.

  • Screw a gate hinge to the top and bottom of the gate. Ask an assistant to hold the gate in the opening so the top of it is even with the top of the deck railing. Screw the other sides of the hinges to the deck railing. Check that the gate swings properly, then attach the gate latch to the other side in same manner you attached the hinges, ensuring proper alignment.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the opening is larger than 6 feet across, make two small gates instead of one.
  • Protect your eyes and ears while cutting with a circular saw.

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